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By the power of voice! Should marketers be seriously considering voice search and do B2B marketers need to sit up and pay attention?

Research estimated that in 2020 50%* of all searches will happen with voice instead of text. With that stat in our heads is now the time to consider voice search for retail technology vendors or will it all blow over? We investigate …

In June 2019, Strategy analytics showed that over 1-in-5 UK households had a smart speaker – this translates into 5.8 million households in the UK reaching over 10 million users. With so many speakers now in existence how many of them are being used and for what?

Digital agency, Code Computerlove and media agency Mediacom North looked into the use of smart speakers in October of last year finding that 7 out of 10 people interviewed who use a voice-controlled device now use this on a daily basis, which is up from only 10 years ago, so not only is this a growing technology but a well-used and loved one.

But how are users now utilising this technology? When asked, most users still used smart devices for primarily, home use, including travel reports, adding items to a shopping list, timing a boiled egg, tracking orders and playing music. But they did also find a couple of trends which we might find bleeding into our working lives as well, making purchases, finding out info and facts and dictating notes, emails or text messages.

Voice search in retail is big news

For retailers as well, Internet Retailing reported in August that 60% of UK smart speaker owners where now using the devices for purchases giving retailers a golden opportunity to sell and connect with more technologically advanced shoppers, so who is to say that we won’t also want more information and the ability to make larger purchases on voice for work as well?

Often we see a gradual overlap between the ways in which as consumers we take B2C approaches and then apply them to the B2B world, and with other research finding that 40% already used voice search when they are in the office alone and 20% use it in the company of their colleagues the use of search at work is already on the rise.

These stats prove the beginning of more voice search use in the workplace but just because we are using it doesn’t yet mean that you’ll necessarily be using it for your larger, more considered purchases. Instead as businesses, marketers in retail tech now need to factor in voice-search in a similar way to how they utilise SEO practices for the primary use of being found by potential prospects researching new technology.

Opportunities for retail technology vendors to get online and voice search ready

What forward-thinking tech providers need to consider is how they can prepare their business activities for prospects not all undertaking the traditional methods of purchasing, and one of the biggest things for marketers to get their heads around is that voice search doesn’t operate in the same way as traditional search engine results pages (SERPs).

For instance, conventional search gives its users the option of choosing between multiple results, voice search however, only uses the featured snippet at the top of the page to answer the query thereby making the top result (or position 0) the most important for anyone utilising their mobile assistant.

With this in mind here are some top changes to consider in 2020 to kick off your journey into being voice-ready:

  • For tech vendors looking to start implementing these upgrades to their websites the first step is to respond to conversational searches, this can be done by peppering your website with long-tail keywords that mimic natural language or even crafting a well-maintained FAQ page which can be a quicker route into making your site more voice search friendly.
  • When optimising content for voice search it is important to remember the most used trigger words in spoken queries, which according to SEOClarity are question orientated and include, “why,” “what,” “how,” “can,” “best,” and “top” if you can answer these questions in your web properties you can see a nice healthy boost in your site’s ranking.
  • Optimise your site not just for Google but for Bing as well. Often when we undertake SEO jobs for clients, we have a focus on Google, this is an obvious move since Google accounts for 88% of the global search market. However, it is important to remember that voice search is slightly different and different voice assistants pull from different search engines. Think of your own home device for instance, if you are using an Amazon product, this uses Bing same as Microsoft’s Cortana, and with Amazon’s Alexa still dominating the market this means a lot more of us are using Bing for our voice-based requests than we are Google so making sure that you are Bing-ready as well as Google can prove important in keeping ahead of the crowd.
  • A mobile-focused website is the start of a voice ready site. Although a mobile ready site doesn’t guarantee you high rankings on voice if you are looking at a new website upgrade this year consider making your site mobile first.Mobile ready websites help your rankings instantly by aligning yourself with Google’s mobile-first indexing. Remember that most voice searches start on mobile devices, which means users can have the most seamless experience between a voice enquiry and the rest of your website.

Our recommendation

With the current information available to us, our suggestion to vendors looking forward or undertaking larger overhaul projects is simple: You need to decide how much longevity you want from your next project.

Although voice search might not be a massive concern in the B2B sector at present, it isn’t to say that it won’t be in the not-to-distant future and if you are looking for something just to cover you for the next year or two, you probably don’t need to worry too much. However, if you are looking to invest in a long-term solution, you need to start considering how your prospects will likely want to find you in the next couple of years and one of those ways will be through voice search.

Wordstream for instance found that 35.8% (Wordstream) of millennials use voice-enabled digital assistants at least once a month compared to 10.1% of baby boomers and a staggering 55% of teenagers in 2019 are using voice search daily! So as our generations grow up, we can already see that further adoption of the regular use of voice assistants will only rise in the coming years.

Prioritising brand optimisation for voice search appears to be a good bet in the long-term when we consider the usage stats from the last 10 years. However, in 2020 for most this won’t be an activity that is needed to be undertaken straight away, instead many marketers both in B2C and B2B preparing for years ahead need to consider now how differently written SEO works in comparison to voice search and prepare for more customisation of their sites and apps to take full advantage of this new way of searching in the future.

Want to talk more about upgrading your website, your SEO content or even how you can optimise your marketing efforts? Get in touch with Fieldworks today and take the first step to a more clients-ready 2020 >>




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